By Maria Geokezas, Vice President of Client Services at Heinz Marketing

Even before the pandemic, we were all experiencing the feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of content available.  It seems to have gotten more intense.  So far in 2020, 70 million new posts appear monthly on WordPress blogs alone (WordPress accounts for 27% of all blog posts – if you do the math that equals 8.6 million new posts per day!)  As companies struggle to make their revenue goals, they are flooding the market with more messages and more content.  Is anyone paying attention?

Now is the time for B2B Influencer Marketing to shine.

As marketers, how do we ensure our messages get through?  To deal with the overwhelming amount of information, people gravitate and consume information from trusted sources.  Possibly made more important by the notion of “fake news” – where people are now conditioned to pay attention to where information is coming from before they believe it.  The current environment makes influencer marketing a more important element of any demand generation strategy.

B2B Influencer Marketing is nothing new.

We’ve been writing, talking and teaching clients how to develop and use influencer marketing programs for years.  In a recent CMO Coffee Talk event just over 40% of CMO’s reported they are doing some form of influencer marketing.  From that discussion, here are seven success factors the more active influencer programs have in common.

Clearly define business objectives.  Like any other channel or tool or tactic in the marketing toolbox, influencer marketing should be part of a larger strategic business objective.  Some influencers can help to extend reach for your brand, others can help to build trust and credibility.  Determine how best to use influencer marketing

Track and measure the payback.  In order to demonstrate your efforts are successful you must be able to track the impact of influencer engagement. There are countless tools and tactics that can be employed to track the impact of your influencer strategy.  This is not the place to get lazy.

Really get to know your influencers.  Understand where their expertise lies, the type of followers they have and how their unique angle can help your brand.  Don’t expect an influencer to change their point of view for your promotion or product.

Segment influencers by community.  There are different types of influencers who can help your business in different ways and at different stages in the buyers’ journey.  From external scholarly and industry experts to customers and partners who may have more applied expertise, influence looks different at different times.  To ensure success, be certain to use the right type of influence at the right time in the buyer’s journey.

Tailored content.  Many times, the reason influencer programs fail is because the content has not been thoughtfully planned or authentically executed to align with the shared goal you have with each of your influencers.  As you get to know your influencers, collaborate on different topics and angles that make sense for both parties.

Integrate into every campaign.  Make influencer marketing a part of every campaign.  Treat it like any other channel – email, Adwords, LinkedIn, sales, partners.  Determine how influencers will contribute to the campaign goals and develop the appropriate tactics.

Active management and accountability.  Influencer marketing is about relationships.  These relationships need to be actively managed.  Like any other channel in you marketing mix, make one person on the team accountable for influencer marketing.

Influencer Marketing is not a short-term “quick win” strategy.

For influencer marketing to be effective, it must be based on an authentic, synergistic relationship.  And those types of relationships take time.  If you have not already established relationships with industry insiders and influencers, it’s easy to get started.  Identify a few key influencers and start sharing their content and commenting on their posts.  Show them the love first and don’t expect an immediate payback.  Patience and dedication win in Influencer Marketing.